By Ducky Paredes/Malaya.com.ph – The Kasambahay bill has already been passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives and is only awaiting President Aquino’s signature for it to take effect.
Voting 176 in favor and 0 against, the chamber unanimously approved House Bill 6144 which will also carry out the commitment made by the Philippine government in setting acceptable standards for the employment of household helpers that will include cooks, garderners, laundry person, and nursemaids.
“It’s a landmark legislation of the 15th Congress,” said Ejercito,
The bill also seeks to comply with the international standards adopted by the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) for the protection of household helpers.
The Senate passed its version of the Kasambahay bill as early as December 2010. There were actually several bills that the House consolidated into one bill that was considered by the Bicameral Conference Committee for the final version of the approved Kasambahay Law.
Thus, this is one piece of legislation with many fathers, including Reps. Emil Ong (NUP, Northern Samar); JV Ejercito (PMP, San Juan City); Juan Edgardo Angara (LDP, Aurora); Alfredo Benitez (LP, Negros Occidental); Catalina Bagasina (ALE Party-list); Bernadette Herrera Dy (Ang Bagong Henerasyon), and Kaka Bag-ao (Akbayan),
At least 100 other solons co-authored the measure that went to the BiCam.
The Kasambahay Act alleviates the plight of many household workers or kasambahays who are among the most disadvantaged in Philippine society. After all, there’s that saying that those who have less in life should have more in law.
The Kasambahay law is keenly awaited by household workers. Said Rep. JV Ejercito, the son of former President Joseph Estrada and a leading senatorial candidate in May of the United Nationalist Alliance or UNA on the passage of the bill late last year, after being passed by the Senate in late 2010:
“I commend my fellow legislators who make up the membership of the House-Senate bicameral committee for coming up with a final version of the Kasambahay Bill. Now household helps can look forward to something for Christmas.
“As everyone knows I fought for a higher minimum salary for household helps, but I must go along with the decision reached by the committee, which pegged the amount at P2,500 in Metro Manila, P2,000 in chartered cities and first-class municipalities, and P1,500 in the rest of the country.
“I have always maintained that more than the economic benefits, household helps must be assured of protection against abusive employers. I am thus glad that the bicameral committee has kept the provision that prescribes stiff penalties for the abuse and maltreatment of these most vulnerable members of the labor force.
“As I observed in various forums, the majority of household helps have very little formal education. So I note with great satisfaction that the bicameral committee has found the wisdom to keep another portion of the bill intact, one that requires employers to allow their household helpers to complete their basic education and, if they so desire, pursue technical or vocational training as well.
“I suppose the employers and their wards should be able to reach a mutually acceptable work schedule.
“Household helps are not slaves. So again I am glad that under the law—once the bill is enacted— these men and women who clean our house, do the laundry, and take care of our children are afforded at least eight hours of rest every day and a day off every week.
“I have no doubt that President Aquino will soon sign this bill because of his compassionate character. I am sure he realizes the importance of the Kasambahay measure to lowly household helpers, some of whom are being maltreated by abusive employers.”
Well, the Kasambahay law may no longer be a Christmas gift as JV had hoped it would be, but it can still be a pre-Valentine Day’s gift by the President, the House of Representatives and the Senate to kasambahays.
Under the measure which JV pushed hard as vice chairman of the House Labor Committee, the minimum salary of a household helper is pegged at P2,500 in Metro Manila, P2,000 in chartered cities and first-class municipalities, and P1,500 in the rest of the country.
Apart from monetary compensation, which includes a 13th month pay, the measure also mandates employers to enroll their househelpers in Social Security System, Philhealth, and Pag-ibig Fund and to pay part of their monthly contribution.
Also, household helpers would be given at least eight hours rest every day and a day off one day a week.
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